The scariest thing about Halloween trick or treating is not the dark, not the costumes with the fake blood and weaponry, nor which scary witch will answer the door and say Boo. It is an actually, truly scary thing: chances are, the chocolate candy in your child’s bag is made with the use of child labor.
I’m a chocoholic, and I’m a million miles away from recovery. I love the stuff, and would probably not turn any piece of chocolate down if you offered it to me while we were, say, having a cup of tea together. I would not question either its pedigree or provenance, because I would be too busy imagining how good it would taste in my mouth. Banning the stuff is not anywhere close to my agenda or within my capabilities as a human, so I’m really struggling with this issue. I can’t honestly say I’ve won yet, but I promise to keep working on it. Please take this post as a tiny step in the right direction.
The chocolate industry has already caught a lot of heat for its suppliers’ sordid behavior, and manufacturers like Hershey’s and others have promised improvement. But if their promised “reduction” of child labor (“elimination” would be better, no?), or fair trade certification of only one or two products in a company’s vast assortment is not quite enough for you, please allow me to suggest a couple of other options.
1. Buy fair trade certified chocolate as listed product-by-product on Fair Trade USA. Coco – Zen and Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates are two companies on the list that offer chocolate squares and peanut butter treats for Halloween. I realize at the time of writing, this information comes a bit late – but please keep them in mind for your next chocolate-giving opportunity.
2. Don’t give out chocolate. Yummy Earth is a candy company that has been thoroughly tested and enthusiastically approved by my little family. Their organic lollipops and hard candy drops come in many outstanding flavors. If you’re not happy about giving out hard candy drops or you feel you must hand out individually packaged treats, Yummy’s gummy bears are also excellent.
3. Just skip the candy altogether. My 5 year old would probably object if everyone did this, but I’ve also seen him happily receive a pencil or a little box of raisins.
Hope your Halloween is a little less scary this year. I’m still working on mine.
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